27 November 2012

chewing the fat

There's so much new stuff coming out all the time - from genuinely new things to things that are just called new - that it's easy for books that just kind of trudge along being consistently excellent to get overlooked in the shuffle.  Chew is like that for me sometimes.  John Layman and Rob Guillory continue to do amazing work on this book, but at times this year they've gotten off schedule, the book's been delayed.  And you know, I read anywhere from 12-20 books a week; sometimes, frankly, I struggle to keep up with all of it.  So if a book isn't out there, a lot of times I'll never miss it, even if it's something I really like.

But then a new issue of Chew comes out, and all is forgiven.  I don't know if it's because of the erratic schedule or a happy coincidence, but the issues are increasingly self-contained.  The current arc, for example, is called Space Cakes and is billed as a five-part story, but it's really not.  And that's extremely helpful when the book's not always coming out on time.  The thing that kills me about late comics isn't about professionalism or business models or anything like that - what kills me is that I pick up an issue and can't remember the previous one because it came out so long ago.  There's an overarching long-form story being told in Chew, but you can pick up a random issue and not feel left out.  Every issue is like a big hilarious wrong party.  Lately the title character, Tony Chu, has been almost an afterthought, as his sister Tony has taken center stage.  (No, that's not a typo.)  I don't really know how much of this has been planned from the beginning, but if it's a weird detour it's an enjoyable one.  There are few books out there that are as out-and-out fun as Chew.

- Yea, in case you were wondering, that 12-20 book per week figure IS too much.  I've been in pruning mode lately, and have made more than a few cuts.  Batman & Robin (poor writing), Venom (a totally different book since Remender left), Mind the Gap (don't like the art) and more have fallen by the wayside.  You know what's cool about the digital age, though?  I feel like I could pick any of those books up again, and start right where I left off, at any time.  There's no sell-outs, no tradewaiting, no eBay hunts... they're right there on my iPad whenever I want them.  With digital I've also been able to shed the idea of being forced to read runs, too - when I was getting trades, by necessity you're buying books in 5-6 issue chunks.  Something about the disposability of digital has cured me of that - I'll jump in and out of a series as I feel like it.  Example: I read and enjoy Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE, but I'm not into the whole Rotworld thing.  So I'm skipping the Frank issues related to that.  I'll be back for #16, which is the series' final issue.  Flexibility is a wonderful thing.

- It occurs to me that, by February, I may be buying 4 ongoing X-Men books.  Considering that the X-Men have long been my personal version of Ambien, this strikes me as odd.  I don't know what to say other than Marvel got me interested with the AvX stuff.  I thought AvX was good albeit flawed in some respects, and it absolutely succeeded in making me care about what happens next with Cyclops.

- On the other hand, I think I'm saying good bye to The Ultimates for now.  (Sorry - Ultimate Comics The Ultimates.)  Inconsistent and at times outright bad art is the big culprit.  More than that, though, it's become a fairly generic superhero book, and even when it's well-done.. I dunno... there's just no oomph to it.  I was actually thinking of bailing on Ultimate Spider-Man too, but the issue # 16.1 was outstanding and drew me back in.  I think that's it for me and the Ultimate line for awhile, though.

1 comment:

dl316bh said...

I don't think anything in this world of ours could possibly make me care about what happens next to Cyclops.

But I readily admit that could just be me.

Wolverine and the X-Men is my definite read going forward. Everything else is a "maybe I'll get to it, maybe I won't" situation. I've been meaning to read Remenders X-Force, but I keep asking myself "is Fantomex enough for me to read this, because I don't give two shits about Miss Assfloss".

Chew is amazing and anyone who says otherwise is wrong.